I made the mistake of making these bars the weekend of Halloween, inbetween trick or treat nights. In my town, the kids trick or treat twice (once in a city celebration where the local businesses open their doors to trick-or-treaters and once in the more conventional house to house setting), so the kids already had gobs of candy when I made these, and as a result I never could get them to really even give this dessert a chance. Which is a shame because they are incredible. My husband loved them but found them a tad rich. I however don’t really have a “too rich” setting, and thought these were decadent indulgence at its finest. A fellow mom tried them and pretty much groaned happily the whole time she ate one.
I got the recipe from one of those cookie magazines that are released during the holidays–but I don’t find these particularly seasonal. I think peanut butter and chocolate can be enjoyed anytime it strikes your fancy. Because they need to be stored in the fridge, I guess I would not recommend serving them when your house is really hot or at a summer picnic, much like any other buttercream-topped dessert. But even then you could eat them straight out of the fridge/cooler.
- Bottom Layer:
- 1¼ cups finely crushed graham crackers (18 full grahams)
- ¼ cup sugar
- heaping ¼ cup salted, dry-roasted peanuts
- ¼ cup melted unsalted butter
- hefty pinch salt
- Middle (brownie) Layer:
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 t vanilla
- ¼ t salt
- ⅔ cup AP flour
- ½ cup peanut butter chips
- Top (frosting) layer:
- ¼ cup room temperature unsalted butter
- 2 T creamy, not natural peanut butter, to taste
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 T milk (plus more to taste)
- ½ vanilla
- pinch of salt
- coarse sea salt for sprinkling
- salted peanuts, optional
- Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line the bottom of a 7X11(recipe calls for) or 9X13 (I used) pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Make the crust by placing the peanuts in a food processor; pulse until coarsely chopped and add the graham crackers and pinch of salt. Process until it is all fine crumbs. Stir in the melted ½ cup butter and pat into parchment-lined pan. Press firmly and then bake for 5 minutes. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.
- Melt the chocolate and ½ cup butter in the microwave on 50% power in 45 second increments. Stir until smooth. Add the sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, eggs and vanilla, and stir just until combined. Stir in the flour and peanut butter chips. Spread this brownie filling evenly over the baked crust. Bake for 20 more minutes, until the brownie layer is cooked. Set aside to cool completely.
- Make the frosting by beating together 2 tablespoons of the peanut butter with ¼ cup of softened butter. Gradually beat in 1 cup of powdered sugar. Add 1 tablespoon of milk, the pinch of salt and the vanilla. Gradually beat in an additional cup of powdered sugar. Add milk and peanut butter to your desired consistency and taste. You might also want more salt, but remember you will be sprinkling the bars with coarse salt.
- Spread the frosting over the cooled brownie layer. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Remove in one large slab using the parchment paper. Slice into small bars (these are very rich, small is the way to go). Press a few peanuts into each bar if desired (I did some but decided I liked them better without, I found the peanuts distracting). They keep well in the refrigerator.
Oh my gosh – that first picture. Yum! I may have to try these.
I dont have the too-rich setting either. These are gorgeous!
I'm 100% certain that I could die happy after eating these.
This could not look more delicious. I'm seriously drooling right now.
A SPICY PERSPECTIVE says
Ooooo. That. Looks. Like. HEAVEN!
ooo salt and peanut butter and chocolate…mmm! These look seriously fantastic. I love your blog! I just found it and if I had all day I would probably just sit here and comment on every single one of your posts. Your pictures are fantastic and your recipes ALL sound delicious.
Island Vittles says
the gooey topping is unique and delicious looking. Great idea for holiday parties! Theresa
What a neat brownie. I've never thought to do a graham layer before. Yummy yummy frosting. Looks rich and delicious.
i'm loving the layers here, laura–what a uniquely delicious brownie!
as for the walking dead, i haven't watched it. i scare easily–is it too creepy?
These look soooo good! Almost like a candy bar… I want one ;)!
Hey, I just realized that you are just up in Indy, I'm in Bloomington. Next year I hope you can join us on our pilgrimage on the Nashville Chocolate Walk usually the 2nd Saturday of November.
OH my gosh, yum. I love layered brownies. And your blog! all the pictures and recipes look delicious.